Birmingham’s A38 Aston Expressway to become park for the day
Plans to turn one of Birmingham’s busiest roads into a paved park for a day have been branded “moronic” by some motorists.
A mile of the Aston Expressway – which links the city to the M6 – is to be closed for International Car Free Day on Sunday 22 September.
Councillors have said planned games, walks, and cycling activities would offer “a new perspective” on the city.
Some have hailed the “bold” move, while others predicted “traffic chaos”.
Almost 87,000 vehicles use the A38(M) Aston Expressway each day, according to Department for Transport estimates.
Under the council’s plans, a closure would be put in place between 10:00 and 16:00 BST.
Motorists reacted to the announcement on social media, and said the effect on traffic would hurt business in the city centre.
Drivers recently faced disruption when roads across the city were closed for the Vélo Birmingham & Midlands cycle ride.
Widespread delays were reported, and some residents along the 100-mile route from Birmingham to Coventry said they felt “trapped” while the race was going on.
But not everyone ridiculed the event, with Claire Spencer calling it a “bold and exciting idea.”
Councillor Waseem Zaffar said the car-free day was a fantastic opportunity for people to see their city from a “new perspective.”
“We want Birmingham to be a vibrant, thriving and forward-thinking city and yet poor air quality is responsible for hundreds of early deaths in the city each year, with the biggest cause of air pollution being road transport.
“We know that we need to encourage more people to be physically active, so this is about reimagining public space, experiencing the street from a new vantage point and showing people that they can get around the city by foot, bike or public transport,” said Mr Zaffer.
He said the council would be working with residents to minimise disruption.‘
Further information about exactly where the road will be closed and specific park details will be released over the coming weeks.
The announcement of the event prompted a mixed response from members of the public on social media.